Stress testing targets a site’s breaking point. The site is given more users and data than it can handle to see how it responds. The amount of stress applied is considered abnormal, but it’s very important to understand how your software responds. Or more importantly, how it recovers. Think of it like a cardiac stress test. The heart is benchmarked under normal conditions, and then observed under extreme stress. The data gathered can point to various possible problems. The same occurs during a software stress test.
The primary goal is to validate the availability and error handling under heavy loads. While performance testing focuses on the response time, stress testing pushes the software to a level where one or more processes actually fail. These failures cause insufficient resources (memory or space) and the application is evaluated on how well it handles during such a situation. The goal is to make sure the system doesn’t completely crash, offers correct and appropriate error messages, and is able to eventually recover from the stress in a timely fashion without significant downtime.
This type of performance testing should always be done with trained professionals who know how to understand and evaluate the results. QA Mentor’s QA Performance and Capacity Planning service, as well as our QA Performance Engineering & Optimization can help you find your site’s breaking point so you can fix inadequacies prior to release.